Winter pruning – four plants to trim back now for exceptional Spring displays

A gardening expert has alerted Britons to the plants that need trimming in winter for an abundant Spring display, even if they’re dormant.

Green-fingered enthusiast Josh Novell explained that contrary to popular belief, winter pruning is essential for the health and growth of plants. 

The director at Polhill shared which plants need a winter trim and how best to go about the essential task.


Many gardeners consider Winter to be one of the best times of the year to prune roses, as it promotes better circulation around the plant before the season’s first frosts take hold.

One way to encourage ventilation is by removing fallen leaves and other unwanted debris from the base of the plant. Cutting back branches that cross over each other will also free up space for air circulation. 

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Shrub roses enjoy more curvature in their shape while hybrid tea roses are better pruned into an open vase shape, so gardeners should consider this when cutting back their shrubs. 

Fruit trees:

Pruning apples, pears and other fruit trees in the Winter is one of the best ways to help them grow with vigour and yield more fruit. 

It’s ideal to trim off any branches that are shooting upwards, are dead, or are overcrowded in one specific area. This will help light get to all parts of the tree. 

Evergreen shrubs:

Evergreen shrubs, like holly, yew and boxweed benefit hugely from pruning to keep their shape intact. Trimming the plant will also encourage new growth, but removing too much could hurt the plant, so caution is warranted. 


Late-blooming perennials such as sedum and decorative grasses tend to grow with more vigour when they’ve been trimmed down in the Winter.

Perennials can be pruned down to just a few inches from the ground, making sure to clear debris from around the plant’s base.

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